The House by the Cemetery by John Everson

(Last Updated On: June 25, 2019)

The House by the Cemetery was a book that I wanted to adore with all the recipes of an interesting story: an abandoned, dilapidated house that is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a witch and the greedy hubris of a man to capitalize on the past to make a Halloween attraction of the haunted house.

About the Book

Publisher: Flame Tree Press  |  Release Date: October 6, 2018  |  Pages: 256
Genre: Adult, Horror  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Rumor has it that the abandoned house by the cemetery is haunted by the ghost of a witch. But rumors won’t stop carpenter Mike Kostner from rehabbing the place as a haunted house attraction. Soon he’ll learn that fresh wood and nails can’t keep decades of rumors down. There are noises in the walls, and fresh blood on the floor: secrets that would be better not to discover. And behind the rumors is a real ghost who will do whatever it takes to ensure the house reopens. She needs people to fill her house on Halloween. There’s a dark, horrible ritual to fulfill. Because while the witch may have been dead… she doesn’t intend to stay that way.

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My Review

The House by the Cemetery was a book that I wanted to adore with all the recipes of an interesting story: an abandoned, dilapidated house that is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a witch and the greedy hubris of a man to capitalize on the past to make a Halloween attraction of the haunted house. Unfortunately, this book failed to live up to my expectations: the writing felt disjointed, the plot was predictable, the characters were one-dimensional, their decisions made no logical sense, and there were a number of plotholes in the book that constantly prohibited me from getting into the story.

“This is not a good house.”

The old house at Bachelor’s Grove has been abandoned and locked up for decades, local legends telling of the ghosts that haunt the place and rumors of ‘satanic rituals’ being done there. Perry worked out some deal with the county, which owns the house and property, to fix it up and turn it into a haunted house attraction. Perry brings in his carpenter friend Mike to do some safety renovations prior to the house being decorated and ready for guests. And honestly, despite this being Perry’s brainchild, we see very little from him as a character, which I find weird.

The prologue was actually incredibly engaging and I was instantly sucked into the danger and mystery of the house; however, the further that the storyline progressed the less engaged I became as there seemed to be no clear plot or direction. The book is told in third person narrative and jumps perspectives a lot, which I think made it difficult to connect with the main character Mike… or anyone else. There isn’t any character development to be seen and there are a lot of moving parts in this that come together in the end, but I was constantly annoyed and frustrated to not have a dedicated POV. I also didn’t care at all about the “haunters” perspectives of decorating and preparing for opening the haunted house at all, although by the end I understood why it was included.

I was also quite bothered by the pervasive and constant passive fat shaming.

“The idea that he wasn’t eating was somewhat ludicrous. Ted weighed in at over 220 pounds, while she might have just been able to nudge the scale over 130… if she rocked up and down on it.”

Honestly, every time that the book shifted to Jillie and Ted’s perspective the narrative seemed to revolve around his weight, how she can eat anything and essentially passively shaming him for eating french fries. And this goes absolutely unchallenged in the text. Before you assume that maybe it was just a poor characterization attempt for Jillie’s third person-POV, nope. When every character comes into contact with Emery, the descriptors for her are some adjective of “chunky.”

Extent of this offensive character trope spoiler

And I swear… when Ted dies his last words to Jillie were, and I freaking quote, “You can have my fries.” Those were the last words that he chose to utter before crossing over. JFC

The story picked up for me around 78% and was interesting to read, albeit predictable. I guessed early on what was going to happen overall, which in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean a low rating from me as I am a wide reader of the genre, but I was disappointed with how little the revelations mattered to the characters. There really was no conflict, no opposing viewpoints, and no character growth. Ultimately this is a run-of-the-mill haunted house story that had a lot of potential but missed the mark for me.

Just because this wasn’t for me doesn’t mean that it isn’t for you: If you like haunted house stories that are focused more on the horror than the characters, by all means, give this one a try.

Content Warnings: fat shaming, gore, murder, dead animals, torture

A list of some spoiler-y plotholes that just didn’t make any sense:

 1. Gonz disappears during his shift and his car remains at the house, yet no one is bothered that he essentially no-shows and is never heard from again.
2. The day that Gonz was missing, Mike’s perspective was talking about how Katie gave him blueballs the night before… but in the text he literally said that she didn’t show up and he left at 5:30.
3. The fact that there’s all these hidden areas in the house – a secret room behind bookshelves with the doors to the basement, the trapdoor in the attic… how tf would a contractor not notice that the house and its dimensions don’t match the actual space seen?
4. The fact that Katie told Mike she was dead and then Everson made the choice to skip perspectives around and never really addressed Mike’s response to that information.

Many thanks to the publisher for providing me an electronic advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. Quotations taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon final publication.

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. thebookprescription

    October 11, 2018 at 11:19 AM

    Ouch, yet another disappointment. Hope you’re next read is better!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 11, 2018 at 11:24 AM

      This is the book that started my current slump. SOBBING!

      1. thebookprescription

        October 11, 2018 at 11:26 AM

        I am sorry! We need to find you a great book!
        I am taking that as a personal mission

        1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

          October 13, 2018 at 9:36 AM

          I am hoping that one of the huge stack in my TBR is a winner… I have high hopes for Wicked Deep. But first I just need to find my desire to read because I haven’t read since October 2nd.

          1. thebookprescription

            October 13, 2018 at 9:38 AM

            I hope so too
            I am sorry you are having a hard time. I highly recommend Six of crows but when you are in the mood for reading which I hope is soon <3

          2. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

            October 13, 2018 at 9:43 AM

            I have SoC on my Kindle so I will consider bumping that up my list. Someday. At this point I don’t know if I will ever read again WAILS MELODRAMATICALLY

          3. thebookprescription

            October 13, 2018 at 12:33 PM

            Oh no
            dear Kaleena! Just remember all the good things that you got from this community and that you added to it. It is ok to take a break too but I wish you come back fast!

          4. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

            October 14, 2018 at 7:51 AM

            Aww thanks Hamad. Thankfully I have a lot of backlogged reviews so I don’t nee to go anywhere for awhile.

  2. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    October 11, 2018 at 11:59 AM


    Seriously though, this book sucked so badly and I’m so glad I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. Amazing comprehensive review <3

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 11, 2018 at 1:18 PM

      OH MY GOODNESS YOUR SALT GIVES ME LIFE! Honestly I wish we had buddy read this one, it would have made it a bit better of an experience for me.

      Thank you hun, and I’m also glad I wasn’t alone in my disappointment. I really didn’t like this book and honestly I kind of wish I gave it 1 star instead of 2…

      1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

        October 12, 2018 at 8:30 AM

        Same! I feel like we would have just been going back and forth ripping it to shreds. 😂

  3. Kristina

    October 11, 2018 at 2:00 PM

    Ahh dang.. its next on my tbr – I hope i’ll find it somewhat ok atleast :/

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 13, 2018 at 9:38 AM

      There ARE positive reviews out there, and I genuinely hope that you like it more than I did.

  4. malanielovesfiction

    October 12, 2018 at 8:47 AM

    I’m so sad about this book,,,BUT I LOVE YOUR REVIEW SO MUCHHH

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 13, 2018 at 9:40 AM

      Thank you, and I am sad too. I really like b-horror movies so I was excited for this style, but it just didn’t translate well to the page for me.

  5. Kathy @ Pages Below the Vaulted Sky

    October 13, 2018 at 10:31 PM

    Aw no, sorry it didn’t work out for you! The premise sounds so good and perfect for October. The fat shaming is just…yikes. A fantastic review as always, though!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 14, 2018 at 8:32 AM

      I am sad it didn’t work for me either! Even with the fat shaming, I just wasn’t a fan of the execution and writing style, but I do know some people have enjoyed it. Thanks, Kathy!

  6. Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)

    October 14, 2018 at 7:18 AM

    *whispers* DRAG ITTTTTTTT 😂😂😂

    This book sounds like such a mess and I’m so sorry you had to deal with a bookish mess. Plus apparently it got you into a reading slump. HMPH. 11/10 would drag.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 14, 2018 at 8:33 AM

      This definitely was one of my least favorite reads, and it’s been 12 days since I have last read… and that’s a horrible sin.

  7. This Week’s New Book Releases And Reviews – Swift Coffee

    October 14, 2018 at 11:04 PM

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  8. Lauren Becker

    October 15, 2018 at 10:45 AM

    Oh no, I’m sorry you didn’t like this one. I’m a big character person, so not having good characterization would probably drive me nuts. This has such a cool concept, so it’s a bummer it didn’t come together.


    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      October 15, 2018 at 8:33 PM

      I am really sad that this one didn’t work for me! Thanks so much for stopping by, Lauren.

  9. October in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    November 1, 2018 at 9:33 AM

    […] * House by the Cemetery, The by John Everson: I was really excited for this book because I cannot get enough of haunted house narratives, and I thought it was really interesting to take an actual haunted house and turn it into a Halloween attraction. Unfortunately this was not a good book: there is no character development, the plot was full of holes, and the narrative was full of fat shaming. Many thanks to the publisher for providing me an electronic advanced reader copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. [Full Review] […]

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